United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O.
Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, referred this
case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report
case is before the Court for preservice screening under the
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the
obligation to screen any Complaint in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
filed his Complaint on February 20, 2019. (ECF No. 1).
Because of a Complaint deficiency he was directed to file an
Amended Complaint, which he did on March 4, 2019. (ECF No.
7). Plaintiff indicates he filed an earlier lawsuit dealing
with the same facts as this case in No. 6:17-cv-06126.
(Id. at 1). This case was dismissed without
prejudice on March 7, 2018, because Plaintiff did not exhaust
his administrative remedies concerning his claims before
filing his case. (ECF No. 16 in 6:17-cv-06126).
is incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction
(“ADC”) Ouachita River Unit (“ORU”).
(Id. at 3). Plaintiff alleges that in the end of
March or start of April 2017, Defendant Griffin failed to
follow ORU policy for moving Inmate Marshall, a
“punitive lockdown” inmate. (Id. at 4).
As a result, Plaintiff was assaulted by Inmate Marshall.
(Id.). Plaintiff further alleges the Defendants were
aware of Inmate Marshall's history of violence against
infirm, handicapped, and elderly inmates. (Id. at
5). Plaintiff proceeds against Defendant Griffin in his
personal capacity. (Id.)
alleges Defendants Carl, King, and Faust were deliberately
indifferent to the practice of placing violent inmates with
elderly and infirm inmates, endangering their personal
safety. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff alleges it is an ADC
custom for individual unit administrators and security staff
to make their own policies and procedures, which results in
lax security measures. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff
proceeds against these Defendants in both their official and
personal capacities. (Id. at 5).
seeks compensatory and punitive damages, an in-depth exam and
brain scan by the Arkansas State Mental Hospital, and better
officer training. (Id. at 7).
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to
service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a
complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that:
(1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or, (2) seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in
law or fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989). A claim fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted if it does not allege “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In evaluating whether a pro
se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a
claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded ... to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Jackson
v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). Even a
pro se Plaintiff must allege specific facts
sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
alleged official capacity claims against Defendants Carl,
King, and Faust for monetary relief. Defendants Carl, King,
and Faust are ADC employees. Therefore, an official capacity
claim against these Defendants is a claim against a state
agency. States and state agencies are not
“persons” subject to suit under § 1983.
Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356 (1990); Will v.
Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989);
McLean v. Gordon, 548 F.3d 613, 618 (8th Cir. 2008).
“This bar exists whether the relief sought is legal or
equitable.” Williams v. Missouri, 973 F.2d
599, 599 -600 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 276 (1986)). “Congress did
not abrogate constitutional sovereign immunity when enacting
the law that was to become section 1983.” Burk v.
Beene, 948 F.2d 489, 493 (8th Cir. 1991) (citing
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 342 (1979)).
Plaintiff's claims against the ADC Defendants are
therefore barred by sovereign immunity.